The Chinese market has emerged as the leader of travel retail. With China as the source of the highest outgoing tourists in the world, corporations and international Tourism professionals are competing to attract this booming market. However, the lack of understanding regarding this market is resulting in struggles to actually get the attention of Chinese tourists.

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Chinese Tourists: Looking Beyond the Cliché

Chinese millennial travelers are the new face of luxury spending: They’re well-traveled, affluent, and eager to spend on luxury goods and experiences that show off their wealth. These Chinese millennials are projected to drive 55 percent of the expansion in China’s consumption spending over the next 5 years. This news is an opportunity for the travel and luxury retail sector. The rising FITs trend in China represents an untapped opportunity for luxury brands.

Destinations, attractions, hotels, restaurants need to embrace this challenge and better their efforts to cater to and welcome these travelers, rather than focusing solely on the previous image of Chinese tourist groups dependent on packaged tours by simply accommodating them. The changing behavior and preferences of Chinese tourists require offering options to customize and personalize travel experiences to attract more visitors.

Sixty percent of Chinese consumers still prefer to travel through package tours to long-haul destinations with language barriers as the main reason; however, younger visitors, especially millennials, are choosing to travel as FITs (Free Independent Travellers). Half of the Chinese travelers are millennials, aged 15 to 29, and they are bigger spenders and more willing to spend money on indulgences than previous generations.

Chinese Tourists are Changing the Travel Landscape

According to the Deloitte report Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2016, globally, the share of luxury goods spending that comes from purchases made while traveling internationally is increasing and currently accounts for 40 percent of the global expenditure on luxury goods. More than half of Chinese millennials are likely to buy luxury goods while traveling, but their luxury spending extends beyond handbags and jewelry to travel and dining experiences, according to the research. For FITs, customized itineraries that are not bound to rigid schedules provide an opportunity to turn a trip into an experience, and they are more than willing to pay.

This is a reflection of what has been seen across the travel industry in which younger consumers spend more on experiences than products. Data has shown that the Chinese retail sector posted just 10-percent growth in 2015, almost half the 17-percent increase in outbound travel. To lure the Chinese FITs, luxury brands need to target their eagerness for personalization and customization. This can be difficult as Chinese millennials are not attracted through traditional routes and traditionally, Chinese do not use just any platform to book hotels and fights. One must familiarise themselves with this market in order to get their attention on the platforms that they do use, in a format and language they can appreciate.

Luxury brands target Chinese tourists before they board plane?

 

Think strategy: Create a good website

The speed of your website should not be overlooked. The credibility of a website lies in one’s ability to access it. If it is slow to access, it gives the impression that your enterprise is behind in technology. In a country where everyone is super connected, this small detail is a handicap of note.

Always work on your E-reputation

In China, your e-reputation (online reputation) is what determines your failure, or your success. Chinese consumers want to comment on your product or services through their social media platforms. They pay special attention to KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), influencers that have the ability to bring revenue to your brand through a simple post.

The key is to make sure that your brand is known and in order to achieve this, as well as communicate with your target market, you need to use the same social media platforms that they are using, regularly uploading new content. High-quality videos and pictures that provide an insight into hospitality services and transportation options can help to convince travelers to visit or purchase or make use of goods and services. It’s a waste of time and resources to focus on Facebook and Google when these sites are blocked in China.

Trust the Chinese Social Media power

You need to familiarise yourself with Baidu, WeChat, and Weibo. WeChat is one of the most popular platforms to engage and attract Chinese consumers, incomparable to any western social platform. Younger Chinese travelers are able to research, plan and purchase their trips abroad within the WeChat application alone. Increasingly, mobile payment apps such as WeChat Pay (similar to PayPal, but so much more) have become an indispensable part of their lifestyle and travel. This is another important means of connecting with Chinese tourists. Find brand ambassadors who will spread news of your brand on Chinese platforms, making sure you stay visible and relevant.

For more information about our complete guide about “how to attract Chinese tourists”, click here

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